New York Public Library Buys Tom Wolfe's Papers for $2.1 Million

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Renowned author and New Journalism inventor Tom Wolfe (Bonfire of the Vanities, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I Am Charlotte Simmons) has sold 190 boxes of his manuscripts and letters to the New York Public Library for $2.15 million. The collection includes early drafts of his novels, nonfiction interviews, research and correspondence dating back to 1955 with writers like Hunter S. Thompson, William Buckley and Gay Talese.

“Tom Wolfe’s unique and innovative style of reporting, as well as his insightful and sharp observations, have made him one of the most notable writers of post-war America,” said NYPL President Tony Marx in a statement. “This incredibly rich archive will give researchers a wealth of new information on his writings, but also on broader topics such as journalism, politics and culture.”

New York has always played a prominent role in Wolfe’s journalism and fiction writing, and the writer, now 83, said he “couldn’t be more delighted.”

“I’ve inhabited The New York Public Library so steadily since the very day I came to New York in 1962 to work—all of three blocks away—at the New York Herald Tribune,” said Wolfe. “I feel like my archive is not moving anywhere. It’s going home.”

The money for Wolfe’s collection (which is currently housed in upper Manhattan) came largely from a private donation. It’s been a good year for literary artifacts, as curios from Faulkner, Heminway, Fitzgerald and David Foster Wallace fetched their own high prices at a Sotheby’s auction in June.

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